Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692)

I ran out of gravestone and tombstone pictures of my own several months ago, so I am reduced to finding pictures of my ancestors' graves on the Internet. Surprisingly, there are quite a few, especially of my early colonial New England ancestors.

Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692) was hanged in 1692 after being accused and convicted of being a witch during the Salem witch trial hysteria in Salem Village (now Danvers), Massachusetts.

Rebecca is buried on the Nurse Homestead in Danvers in an unmarked grave. There is a memorial standing in the homestead burying ground that commemorates her life. You can see pictures of the memorial on the Find-A-Grave web site here. There are pictures of all of the graves in the Nurse Homestead burying ground on the GraveMatters web site here.

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead graveyard web page is here.

The two sides of the memorial read:

Rebecca Nurse
Yarmouth, England
Salem Mass
O Christian Martyr
who for Truth could die
When all about thee
owned the hideous lie!
The world redeemed
from Superstition's sway
is breathing freer
for thy sake today

Accused of Witchcraft
She declared
"I am innocent and God will
clear my innocence!"
Once acquitted yet falsely
condemned She suffered
death July 19, 1692
In loving memory of her
Christian character
even when truly attested by
forty of her neighbors
This monument is erected
July 1885

Rebecca (Towne) Nurse is one of my 9th great-grandmothers. My line from her to myself is (with Ahnentafel numbers for the direct line):

1. 2395 Rebecca Towne (1621-1692) m. 1644 Francis Nurse (1618-1695)
2. 1197 Sarah Nurse (1648-????) m. 1669 Michael Bowden (1651-1740)
3. 598 Michael Bowden (1673-1741) m. 1697 Sarah Davis (1676-1754)
4. 299 Mary Bowden (1705-????) m. 1726 Michael Bowden (1703-1748)
5. 149 Mary Richards (1733-????) and Isaac Buck (ca1730-????)
6. 74 Isaac Buck (1757-1846) m. 1780 Martha Phillips (1757-1820)
7. 37 Sophia Buck (1797-1882) m. ca 1833 Thomas J. Newton (????-????)
8. 18 Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) m. 1852 Sophia Newton (1834-1923)
9. 9 Hattie L. Hildreth (1857-1920) m. 1874Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922)
10. 4 Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1940) m. 1900 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)
11. 2 Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) m. 1942 Betty V. Carringer (1919-2002)
12. 1 Randall J. Seaver (1943- )

Are any Genea-Musings readers also descended from Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692)? I think that there are several. Tell me in comments.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I'm not descended of Rebecca Towne, but from her parents, and her brother Edmund Towne, who married Mary Browning. I live on the land where Mary Towne (who married Robert Boyd) had a dairy farm in Londonderry, NH. I was recently at the Nurse homestead to photograph the same stone! I was there to see George Jacob's stone, he was re-interred next to the Nurse memorial stone in 1992 when his family homestead in Danvers was sold to be a gas station (Boooo!) George Jacobs was also hung as a witch on 19 August, 1692, along with John Proctor. Both Proctor and Jacobs were my 9x great grandfathers.

Unknown said...

I'm not descended from her either but with a name like Mary Warren I should have some kind of connection :) It's fun to google your name and find out who else (past and present) shares the same name...try it if you haven't done so.

Great post - I love to read about the Salem witch trials.

Anonymous said...

My husband also descends from Rebecca (Towne) Nurse through her great-granddaughter Mary Bowden.

Great post - so glad to see the tombstone! We are from Massachusetts and visited Salem many times, but it wasn't until after our last Salem visit that I found the connection.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I am also a Towne descendant through Rebecca's sister, Mary Towne Esty.

The Ancestry Insider said...

I have an unusual connection to Rebecca's monument. Like many of you, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard word of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers. My father and I, on a genealogical pilgrimage to the Salem/Beverly area, were next to Rebecca's tombstone when we received the cell phone call with the news.

-- The Insider

bobby said...

To Heather and Mary, I have two lines descending from Rebecca and her parents, one from her daughter Sarah Nurse and one from her brother Edmund, making her my 10x great gradmother and great aunt. Edmund's line moves to Kennebunk where my ggg great grandmother Jane M Towne marries Edward Warren. Seems like we are all just cousins!

Anonymous said...

I too am a decendent of Rebecca Towne Nurse. I am one of her many 9th Great Grandaughters thru her daughter Sarah and Sarah's husband Reuben Sawyer. I was amazed and excited to find someone so famous in my family history, and I thank you for your pictures as I am stuck in the middle of the U.S.!



Unknown said...

I am also not descended directly from Rebecca but rather her parents and a brother whom which I have forgotten from our family reunions. Rebecca is my 10th great aunt and her parents my 10 great grandparents.If I was to make a guess it would be Joseph or Jacob. Both which names I named my own children without knowing we were even related at the time! My name being Rebecca and my daughter Maegan (Mary?), due to the strong need to name her something that started with an M. I also lost a female twin and if you keep up with the same scenario, it could be Sarah! So strange! I find it so hard to believe that these children were able to push this drama to extremes and have so many innocent people killed. just goes to show what can happen when the village is made up largely of idiots! Really and it still could happen today! well, maybe not a real witch hunt but many other idiotic people persecuting innocent upstanding citizens when widespread panic is created and runs unchecked. The latest being the war on drugs. quite suddenly over night, doctors stopped prescribing any narcotic pain meds and the entire world started an abrupt detox. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel went on a personal crusade to get everyone off pain killers and no one was immune. It started before I was disabled but accelerated out of control since! people screaming in pain at beginning of my shift. I would work hard to control it in my 12 hrs, only to return and be pulled from report by the next of kin and begged to be their nurse again. I would enter that room to find out the 7mg MSO4/hr drip had been totally discontinued over night and the patient was screaming in pain again. This was a dying patient! people are so unbelievably idiotic sometimes! This is why I am a fierce patient advocate. It is just too bad I was not able to have someone defend me!

I became very ill while working in a hospital as an Oncology RN. I lost everything due to inability to work, yet even though I am an RN, no one would listen to me and help me. I am on my 6th year in a row, unable to work, and still no compensation for a disability that was caused by a super germ I had caught working in the hospital. What I did get was 2 back to back jail terms for suspicion of dui. I nearly died in jail the 2nd time and if it were not for my father bailing me out when he did, I would not be here this day. The first time I was arrested was April nd the 2nd was the end of July! The sketches and engravings I have seen with her in chains looks exactly like my day in court. chains and all! I had a mini stroke the day I was first arrested and it resulted in my left eye/eyebrow being slightly lower. The sketches I have seen of her have the same left eye droop, the same thin facial features with high cheek bones and thin straight lips. All just too much! I also had a dream continuously since I was a very little girl. They stopped at about age 13 and I had another after I became an adult and had long forgotten. Now years later, the house in my dream looks an aweful lot like the homestead! Coincidence? I am not too sure!
Rebecca Burt

Unknown said...

My name is Amber Seaver (1991-Present) and my father is Scott Seaver (1963-Present) - my grandmother is Joan Davis (1930s-present) and my great grandfather was Norman E. "Dixie" Davis. I wonder if I am a distant relation.

I can be reached at ambrelizabeth@gmail.com